Daily iPad App: Deepworld pulls off some very impressive multiplayer magic
Deepworld is a very impressive title, and I told the creators as much back when I met them at GDC earlier this year. In fact, it was so impressive that I kind of doubted they could pull it off. A full 2D server-based Minecraft multiplayer game, running on the iPad? Sounds good, but good luck, is what I essentially told the Bytebin team. But I'm happy to eat crow on this one, because they've done it. After releasing on the Mac earlier this year, Deepworld is now available on the iPad, and it's every bit the game that I was promised back at GDC.
If you've played Minecraft, Junk Jack or any of the many clones in this up-and-coming sandbox style, you'll probably know how this all works: You get to guide an avatar around a world (in this case, a 2D and apocalyptic world), hacking away at blocks and collecting items of various types. The items you collect can then be crafted and combined into other items, and piece by piece you get to shape the world to your own ends, trying to fight off monsters and build a safe haven as you do so. Deepworld's biggest benefit along these lines, however, is the aesthetic: It's a very steampunk-style setting, so not only are you building candles and pickaxes, but you can put together pistols, turrets and even engines as well. I haven't figured it all out yet, but really industrious players can build things like portals, bombs and other fun gear.
The other big bonus is that Deepworld was built from the ground up with multiplayer in mind (unlike the mobile version of Minecraft, which is getting it soon). So when you jump into a game, you can randomly be thrown in with the public, with you and other players picking your way across Deepworld's wasteland setting. A few of the devs behind the game are originally server administrators, and it shows: Multiplayer runs brilliantly, which is a feat in itself on iOS.
Plus, Deepworld is available for the great price of free, with a premium membership and / or in-game currency available via in-app purchase. Do not pass this one up -- you'll need an iPad 2 or above (as this is a fairly intensive game), but Deepworld is an impressive undertaking, offers a really amazing world to experience and conquer.